Richard Sharp, 67, the long-time CEO of Circuit City who founded used car retailer CarMax has died of Alzheimer’s disease at his home near Richmond, Virginia.
Sharp joined Circuit City in 1982 and served as CEO of the company from 1986 to 2000. Under his leadership, Circuit City enjoyed meteoric growth with sales that increased from $175 million in 1986 to more than $10 billion by 2000. Eight years after he had left the company, Circuit City filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and the following year was liquidated.
During his tenure at Circuit City, Sharp was involved in the creation of an innovative new concept in automotive retailing called CarMax that offered shoppers a simple, no-haggling approach to car buying. Sharp joined CarMax in 2002 when it was spun off as a separate company from Circuit City and he served as chairman of the company until 2007. CarMax has since grown to become the nation’s largest seller of used vehicles with 135 stores with annual sales of more than $12.5 billion.
Sharp was also a founding investor in the innovative Crocs footwear company where he served as chairman from 2005 until 2011.
He is survived by his wife, Sherry, two daughters and four grandchildren.